Traditional Values

National African American museum in DC defines ‘whiteness’

The display did not turn out as they planned.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

A taxpayer-funded museum in Washington, D.C. recently funded and displayed a chart trying to vilify “whiteness,” though strangely in a way that promoted many of the positive aspects of the Protestant work ethic and traditional American cultural values.

The situation and debate became so confused last week, with some groups heralding the unintentional praise of traditional values while others slammed the racist premise of the chart, that the National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) was forced to remove the outrageous chart on “whiteness” from its webpages, commenting on Thursday that it didn’t contribute to a “productive conversation” about race.

That the chart was ever displayed at all speaks to the complete cultural and intellectual bankruptcy of the people who run the museum. Imagine if a chart on “blackness” that included the allegedly negative traits of black people was featured by a taxpayer-funded museum. It would be a horrendous and bigoted mistake. As we once more elucidate, racism is racism no matter whom the target.

The museum’s display separated “aspects and assumptions of whiteness” into subtopics such as “rugged individualism” and “history.” For example, under “future orientation,” the graphic listed “delayed gratification” and “planning for the future” as concepts championed by whites. That is outrageously unfair, as if people of other derivations were not capable of those traits. In its rush to be PC, the museum ended up insulting its own constituency.

The graphic proclaims, “Since white people still hold most of the institutional power in America, we have all internalized some aspects of white culture — including ‘people of color.'” Other traits of “whiteness” are: “Objective, rational linear thinking”; “cause and effect relationships”; hard work being the key to “success”; respect for authority; “decision-making”; a “steak and potatoes” aesthetic; children having their own rooms in a household; and the idea that “intent counts” in justice. All excellent things, but only available to whites? Again, the inadvertent racism of PC.

The NMAAHC’s graphic also quotes race-hustling writer Peggy McIntosh as saying: “White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.” Conservatives were quick to strike back at the absurdity.

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“It’s not just crazy, it’s evil and counterproductive,” said conservative pundit Ben Shapiro. “It suggests that all pathways to success — hard work, stable family structure, individual decision-making — represent complicity in white supremacy. Which incentivizes all the paths to failure, of course.”

In the presentation white people are guilty of “acts of microaggressions [to] include verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults toward nonwhites. Whether intentional or not, these attitudes communicate hostile, derogatory, or harmful messages.”

In describing the “whiteness” graphic, the museum said “The site’s intent and purpose are to foster and cultivate conversations that are respectful and constructive and provide increased understanding. As an educational institution, we value meaningful dialogue and believe that we are stronger when we can pause, listen, and reflect—even when it challenges us to reconsider our approach. We hope that this portal will be an ever-evolving place that will continue to grow, develop, and ensure that we listen to one another in a spirit of civility and common cause.”

But when the basic idiocy and inherent racism of the display was illustrated by conservatives, the museum beat a hasty retreat: “Since yesterday, certain content in the ‘Talking About Race’ portal has been the subject of questions that we have taken seriously. We have listened to public sentiment and have removed a chart that does not contribute to the productive discussion we had intended.” But rest assured there will be more travesties like this, such is the PC stranglehold on DC.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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